Enduring Love

by

Ian McEwan

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Joe Rose is the protagonist of Enduring Love and the novel’s chief narrator. He’s married to Clarissa Mellon, and he is a science writer and a committed rationalist. After witnessing a man die in a ballooning accident, Joe reacts with his typical commitment to reason over emotion, focusing on the logistics of what went wrong rather than the meaning of witnessing a violent death. Nonetheless, he feels a formless malaise in reaction to the event. The ballooning accident has another profound effect: Jed Parry—another witness to the accident—begins stalking Joe, which upends Joe’s life. He finds himself questioning both his career and his relationship with Clarissa. Dissatisfied with his professional life, he undertakes a fruitless quest to realize his old ambition of being a scientist, and he comes to resent Clarissa for not believing him that Jed Parry is stalking him, which fractures their marriage. The central tension between him and Clarissa is whether Joe’s rationalism or Clarissa’s intuition is the better lens with which to view the events of their lives, and, by the end of the novel, it’s clear that both parties are correct on some counts. However, as Joe was right about Jed Parry, and his reliance on reason allows him to thwart his stalker and restore equilibrium to his life, McEwan seems to suggest that Joe’s rationalism is—when used in moderation—preferable to Clarissa’s intuition. The book concludes with Joe’s consideration of whether a future with Clarissa might yet be possible.

Joe Rose Quotes in Enduring Love

The Enduring Love quotes below are all either spoken by Joe Rose or refer to Joe Rose. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Importance of Loyalty Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Anchor Books edition of Enduring Love published in 1998.
Chapter 1 Quotes

To the buzzard, Parry and I were tiny forms, our white shirts brilliant against the green, rushing toward each other like lovers, innocent of the grief this entanglement would bring.

Related Characters: Joe Rose (speaker), Jed Parry
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:

If one ever wanted proof of Darwin’s contention that the many expressions of emotion in humans are universal, genetically inscribed, then a few minutes by the arrivals gate in Heathrow’s Terminal Four should suffice. I saw the same joy, the same uncontrollable smile, in the faces of a Nigerian earth mama, a thin-lipped Scottish granny, and a pale, correct Japanese businessman as they wheeled their trolleys in and recognized a figure in the expectant crowd.

Related Characters: Joe Rose (speaker)
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:

I should make something clear. There may have been a vague communality of purpose, but we were never a team. There was no chance, no time. Coincidences of time and place, a predisposition to help, had brought us together under the balloon. No one was in charge—or everyone was, and we were in a shouting match.

Related Characters: Joe Rose (speaker), Jed Parry, John Logan, James Gadd, Joseph Lacey, Toby Greene
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

Every fraction of a second that passed increased the drop, and the point must come when to let go would be impossible or fatal. And compared with me, Harry was safe, curled up in the basket. The balloon might well come down safely at the bottom of the hill. And perhaps my impulse to hang on was nothing more than a continuation of what I had been attempting moments before, simply a failure to adjust quickly.

Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

Like a self in a dream, I was both first and third persons. I acted, and saw myself act. I had my thoughts, and I saw them drift across a screen. As in a dream, my emotional responses were nonexistent or inappropriate. Clarissa’s tears were no more than a fact, but I was pleased by the way my feet were anchored to the ground and set well apart, and the way my arms were folded across my chest.

Related Characters: Joe Rose (speaker), Clarissa Mellon
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

“Look, we don’t know each other and there’s no reason why you should trust me. Except that God has brought us together in this tragedy and we have to, you know, make whatever sense of it we can?”

Related Characters: Jed Parry (speaker), Joe Rose
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

I said, “We tried to help and we failed.”
She smiled and shook her head. I went and stood by her chair and put my arms around her and protectively kissed the top of her head. With a sigh she pressed her face against my shirt and looped her arms around my waist. Her voice was muffled. “You’re such a dope. You’re so rational sometimes you’re like a child.”

Related Characters: Joe Rose (speaker), Clarissa Mellon (speaker), James Gadd, Harry Gadd
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:

“I’ll tell you one thing it means, dummkopf. We’ve seen something terrible together. It won’t go away, and we have to help each other. And that means we’ll have to love each other even harder.”
Of course. Why didn’t I think of this? Why didn’t I think like this? We needed love.

Related Characters: Joe Rose (speaker), Clarissa Mellon (speaker), Jean Logan
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:

“I love you more now I’ve seen you go completely mad,” she said. “The rationalist cracks at last!”

Related Characters: Clarissa Mellon (speaker), Joe Rose
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

I was afraid of my fear, because I did not yet know the cause. I was scared of what it would do to me and what it would make me do. And I could not stop looking at the door.

Related Characters: Joe Rose (speaker), Jed Parry
Related Symbols: Doors
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

“Something’s happened,” he said.
He wasn’t going to continue, so I said, “What’s happened?”
He breathed in deeply through his nose. He still would not look at me. “You know what it is,” he said sulkily.

Related Characters: Joe Rose (speaker), Jed Parry (speaker)
Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:

“The fact that you love me,” he continued, “and that I love you is not important. It’s just the means . . . [t]o bring you to God, through love. You’ll fight this like mad, because you’re a long way from your own feelings? But I know that the Christ is within you. At some level you know it too. That’s why you fight it so hard with your education and reason and logic and this detached way you have of talking, as if you’re not part of anything at all?”

Related Characters: Jed Parry (speaker), Joe Rose
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

A few years ago, science book editors could think of nothing but chaos. Now they were banging their desks for every possible slant on neo-Darwinism, evolutionary psychology, and genetics. I wasn’t complaining—business was good—but Clarissa had generally taken against the whole project. It was rationalism gone berserk. “It’s the new fundamentalism,” she had said one evening . . . . What a zoologist had to say about a baby’s smile could be of no real interest. The truth of that smile was in the eye and heart of the parent, and in the unfolding love that only had meaning through time.

Related Characters: Joe Rose (speaker), Clarissa Mellon (speaker)
Page Number: 74-75
Explanation and Analysis:

Being hounded by Parry was aggravating an older dissatisfaction. It comes back to me from time to time, usually when I’m unhappy about something else, that all the ideas I deal in are other people’s.

Related Characters: Joe Rose (speaker), Jed Parry
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

“The guy’s ridiculous,” Joe continues. “He’s fixated.” Clarissa begins to speak, but he waves her down. “I can’t get you to take this seriously. Your only concern is I’m not massaging your damned feet after your hard day.”

Related Characters: Joe Rose (speaker), Clarissa Mellon, Jed Parry
Page Number: 92-93
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

It wasn’t that she believed Parry, I told myself, it was that his letter was so steamily self-convinced, such an unfaked narrative of emotion—for he obviously had experienced the feelings he described—that it was bound to elicit certain appropriate automatic responses. Even a trashy movie can make you cry. There were deep emotional reactions that ducked the censure of the higher reasoning processes and forced us to enact, however vestigially, our roles: I, the indignant secret lover revealed; Clarissa, the woman cruelly betrayed. But when I tried to say something like this, she looked at me and shook her head slightly from side to side in wonderment at my stupidity.

Related Characters: Joe Rose (speaker), Clarissa Mellon, Jed Parry
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

Our easy ways with each other, effortlessly maintained for years, suddenly seemed to me an elaborate construct, a finely balanced artifice, like an ancient carriage clock. We were losing the trick of keeping it going, or of keeping it going without concentrating hard.

Related Characters: Joe Rose (speaker), Clarissa Mellon
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

This woman was convinced that all of London society was talking of her affair with the king and that he was deeply perturbed. On one visit, when she could not find a hotel room, she felt the king had used his influence to prevent her from staying in London. The one thing she knew for certain was that the king loved her . . . . He used the curtains in the windows of Buckingham Palace to communicate with her. She lived her life in the prison gloom of this delusion. Her forlorn and embittered love was identified as a syndrome by the French psychiatrist who treated her, and who gave his name to her morbid passion. De Clerambault.

Related Characters: Joe Rose (speaker), Jed Parry
Related Symbols: Curtains
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

“I’m pretty well off, you know. I can get people to do things for me. Anything I want. There’s always someone who needs the money. What’s surprising is how cheap it is, you know, for something you’d never do yourself.”

Related Characters: Jed Parry (speaker), Joe Rose
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

There were very few biblical references in Parry’s correspondence. His religion was dreamily vague on the specifics of doctrine, and he gave no impression of being attached to any particular church. His belief was a self-made affair, generally aligned to the culture of personal growth and fulfillment. There was a lot of talk of destiny, of his “path” and how he would not be deterred from following it, and of fate—his and mine entwined. Often, God was a term interchangeable with self. God’s love for mankind shaded into Parry’s love for me. God was undeniably “within” rather than in his heaven, and believing in him was therefore a license to respond to the calls of feeling or intuition.

Related Characters: Joe Rose (speaker), Jed Parry
Page Number: 163-164
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19 Quotes

The tall man, ready to cast his spell, pointed his wand at Colin Tapp.
And Tapp himself was suddenly ahead of us all by a second. His face showed us what we didn’t understand about the spell. His puzzlement, congealed in terror, could not find a word to tell us, because there was no time. The silenced bullet struck through his white shirt at his shoulder and lifted him from his chair and smacked him against the wall. The high-velocity impact forced a fine spray, a blood mist, across our tablecloth, our desserts, our hands, our sight. My first impulse was simple and self-protective: I did not believe what I was seeing.

Related Characters: Joe Rose (speaker), Clarissa Mellon, Jed Parry, Jocelyn Kale, Colin Tapp
Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20 Quotes

I felt a familiar disappointment. No one could agree on anything. We lived in a mist of half-shared, unreliable perception, and our sense data came warped by a prism of desire and belief, which tilted our memories too. We saw and remembered in our own favor, and we persuaded ourselves along the way. Pitiless objectivity, especially about ourselves, was always a doomed social strategy. We’re descended from the indignant, passionate tellers of half-truths, who, in order to convince others, simultaneously convinced themselves.

Related Characters: Joe Rose (speaker), Jed Parry, Detective Constable Wallace
Page Number: 196
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

“But what I was also trying to say last night was this: your being right is not a simple matter.”

Related Characters: Clarissa Mellon (speaker), Joe Rose, Jed Parry
Page Number: 233
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 24 Quotes

This breathless scrambling for forgiveness seemed to me almost mad, Mad Hatterish, here on the riverbank where Lewis Carroll, the dean of Christ Church, had once entertained the darling objects of his own obsessions. I caught Clarissa’s eye and we exchanged a half-smile, and it was as if we were pitching our own requests for mutual forgiveness, or at least tolerance, in there with Jean’s and Reid’s frantic counterpoint. I shrugged as though to say that, like her in her letter, I just did not know.

Page Number: 247-248
Explanation and Analysis:
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Joe Rose Character Timeline in Enduring Love

The timeline below shows where the character Joe Rose appears in Enduring Love. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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Joe Rose and his wife, Clarissa Mellon, are having a picnic. They’ve journeyed to the Chilterns,... (full context)
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As Joe recalls this moment, he pauses to consider what Clarissa is doing at the same instant.... (full context)
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After setting the scene in such a way, Joe finally reveals what the characters are running toward: a massive hot-air balloon in whose basket... (full context)
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Here, Joe pauses, explaining to the reader that he is intentionally holding back information for a time... (full context)
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As Joe describes unpacking the picnic lunch, he summons again the moment in which he first hears... (full context)
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Sure enough, the wind “renew[s] its rage” before Joe can take too many more steps. Joe begins to run again but is beat to... (full context)
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Throughout these pages of recollection, Joe is clear that the men are “never a team”: the situation is too chaotic, the... (full context)
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...bicker and curse, a great gust of wind cuts through the air again. Once more, Joe pauses his narrative to set the scene more precisely. According to his telling, the men... (full context)
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Joe emphasizes the chaos with which the attempted rescue is proceeding. The men are “breathless, excited,... (full context)
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...being knocked aside, the balloon begins to rise into the air, taking the five remaining men—Joe, Jed Parry, Joseph Lacey, Toby Greene, and John Logan—with it. Joe recounts the infinitesimally brief... (full context)
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Joe realizes that “every fraction of a second that passe[s] increase[s] the drop” and that the... (full context)
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By the time Joe regains his footing, the balloon, and John Logan, are “fifty yards away” and very high... (full context)
Chapter 2
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In the moments immediately after John Logan’s fall, Joe again slows the pace of his narrative, indicating that he wishes to “give the half-minute... (full context)
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Shaken by this memory, Joe pauses to consider the respective positions of the other men in the field. Joseph Lacey... (full context)
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Feeling strangely excited, even euphoric, Joe telephones the police then strides down the hill in the direction of John Logan’s body.... (full context)
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When Joe finally looks straight at Logan’s body, the corpse seems to him like “some stumpy antenna... (full context)
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As Joe looks at Logan’s body, he is joined by Jed Parry, who has come down the... (full context)
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When Parry asks Joe if he is all right, Joe responds by telling him, “There’s nothing we can do... (full context)
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...increasingly fervent) argument about prayer. Parry has lowered himself to his knees and is inviting Joe to join him. Joe is horrified and “speechless” and wants “not to offend a true... (full context)
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Though Joe shrugs and declines again, Parry is increasingly insistent, referring to himself as “just the messenger”... (full context)
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Parry attempts “a radical change in tone,” asking Joe “sharply” what is preventing him from participating in the prayer. Pushed to the point of... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Joe and Clarissa have returned to their London home. The time is 6:00 PM, and Joe... (full context)
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Their words, Joe tells the reader, come out in a “torrent” of “repetition,” and Joe finds comfort in... (full context)
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Joe shows Clarissa the rope burns on his palm, which he received just before the balloon... (full context)
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When Joe comes to the story of Jed Parry and his insatiable desire for prayer, he tells... (full context)
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...going over the story once more. When Clarissa insists that Logan “was a good man,” Joe is reminded of “the routine surgical procedure that left Clarissa unable to bear children.” He... (full context)
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Putting aside that line of thinking, Joe reveals to the reader that the balloon eventually came down safely on its own and... (full context)
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Clarissa responds that Joe is “so rational sometimes [he’s] like a child,” and she insists that one meaning that... (full context)
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...of them tell stories from childhood: of Clarissa’s young cousin going briefly missing and of Joe’s first public performance on the trumpet. After a time, the two of them make love... (full context)
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After their friends leave, just after one in the morning, Joe and Clarissa prepare for the next day—a Monday, and Clarissa’s first day back in the... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Joe and Clarissa wake the next morning and go about their normal routines. Clarissa returns to... (full context)
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After finishing the piece, Joe telephones the police and learns that he must attend an inquest concerning John Logan’s death... (full context)
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Joe has in mind a particular new essay: he wants to write about “the death of... (full context)
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As he works, Joe can hear outside the reading room the traffic in St. James’s Square, and he is... (full context)
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Turning his attention back to his research, Joe fails for a moment to grasp “the prompting of footwear and color,” not yet realizing... (full context)
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Standing in St. James’s Square, Joe looks around for anyone dressed in the footwear he believes he saw in the reading... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Upon finishing his research at the reading room, Joe goes on to his second meeting of the day: he is helping to judge a... (full context)
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Joe watches the evening news and considers the state of his own affairs. He worries that... (full context)
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Working through his idea, Joe speculates that, because the 19th century was the novel’s heyday, scientists of that era—many of... (full context)
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Setting his pages aside, Joe feels for the second time that day “someone at [his] back.” He reflects on the... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Joe reflects upon the architectural history of his apartment: the builder was inspired by the Queen... (full context)
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Sitting at the single, unadorned table on his side of the roof the next morning, Joe thinks again about John Logan and his responsibility for Logan’s death. He examines the rope... (full context)
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Picturing that prospective scene, Joe imagines Jean Logan dressed in black with children clinging to her knees. Soon enough, however,... (full context)
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Joe understands that now is the time to tell Clarissa the truth about Jed Parry’s phone... (full context)
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Though the couple do not yet quarrel, Joe can tell that Clarissa is moving through their conversation “with the caution of a bomb... (full context)
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Parry is calling, he reveals, because Joe called him the previous evening, using “last number recall.” When Joe asks Parry what he... (full context)
Chapter 7
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On the street, Joe sees Parry lingering under a tree a hundred yards away. Parry looks “abject” and refuses... (full context)
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“Something’s happened,” Parry tells Joe a few moments later, looking down at his fingernails rather than at Joe. When Joe... (full context)
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Continuing to speak against his better judgment, Joe asks whether Parry was following him the previous day. Parry looks away rather than answering,... (full context)
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For the first time since the beginning of their encounter, Joe finds himself “calculating the physical danger” posed by Parry, who is “twenty years younger” and... (full context)
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Trying a different strategy, Joe asks Parry “exactly” what he wants, suggesting that perhaps Parry wants to have sex with... (full context)
Chapter 8
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As he rides in the back of the cab, Joe reflects on how quickly his feelings toward Parry have changed. The previous day, Parry represented... (full context)
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Joe’s thesis, which he reflects upon as he rides, is that the smile is an evolutionary... (full context)
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Fully immersed in the memory of their conversation about the human smile, Joe recalls his counter-argument: that by increasing the world’s understanding of a phenomenon, science can increase... (full context)
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Arriving at his destination, Joe purchases a book, browses briefly, then returns home. Parry is waiting for him, and Joe... (full context)
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Reporting to the police a case of “systematic harassment,” Joe is made to answer a series of bureaucratic questions about the specifics of Parry’s behavior.... (full context)
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Joe returns to his living room and looks out the window again. Though Parry is no... (full context)
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Reflecting on his early adulthood, Joe recalls the events that left him “too old” for the “very competitive game” of serious... (full context)
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Taking a cup of coffee and a plate of sandwiches into his study, Joe tries to work while simultaneously getting up at regular intervals to check on Parry. By... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Joe indicates that he will narrate Clarissa’s return home from her perspective. She has had a... (full context)
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With no transition or pause, Joe finishes his rant about Jed Parry and begins to tell Clarissa about a conversation he... (full context)
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As Joe continues talking uninterruptedly, Clarissa resigns herself to the fact that Joe “is not going to... (full context)
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Preparing her bath, Clarissa reflects further on Joe’s emotional state, noting that his “precise and careful mind . . . takes no account... (full context)
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Clarissa uses this moment of contradiction to finally interrupt Joe, explaining that he has been talking non-stop since she arrived. When he confesses that he... (full context)
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Clarissa is unmoved by Joe’s claims, however, and asks him why he erased the messages on the answering machine. When... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Narrating from his own perspective once again, Joe states that the rainy weather that greets him upon his leaving the apartment seems to... (full context)
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As Joe continues walking swiftly, he feels a pleasurable disdain for the wealthy homes he’s passing, recalling... (full context)
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Parry is sobbing, and he accuses Joe of “playing games” and “pretending” not to return his love. Joe moves quickly away, “almost... (full context)
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Losing Parry’s words in the blare of a passing siren, Joe realizes that he feels toward Parry a kind of pity, even as he is simultaneously... (full context)
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Allowing his thoughts to continue wandering, Joe considers the word “signals,” which Parry has twice accused him of “sending” during their confrontation.... (full context)
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Following this line of thinking, Joe reflects upon his own curtains in his apartment and the massive collection of files in... (full context)
Chapter 11
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In a letter to Joe, Jed Parry states that “happiness” is running through him “like an electric current” due to... (full context)
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Continuing on in these delusions, Parry apologizes to Joe for not initially feeling the love that Joe clearly felt “from the very beginning,” when... (full context)
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Parry tells Joe that he already knows quite a bit about Joe’s life, and he begins to relate... (full context)
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Parry explains that loving Joe has made him alert to the natural world as never before: he wants to “touch... (full context)
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Relating his career history, Parry tells Joe that he used to teach English as a foreign language but now does little but... (full context)
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Continuing on, Parry offers to speak to Clarissa on Joe’s behalf. He confesses that he feels Joe’s “presence” beside him as he writes, and he... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Two days after the arrival of Parry’s letter, Joe drives to Oxford to visit John Logan’s widow, Jean Logan. In his thoughts is his... (full context)
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As Joe drives, he glances occasionally in the rear-view mirror, watching for Parry, who he assumes may... (full context)
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His relationship with Clarissa, Joe narrates, has continued to be difficult. Though the two have been “affable” and have even... (full context)
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Continuing to remember the morning in question, Joe recalls that an “unarticulated dispute” had lingered between Clarissa and him despite the cheerfulness with... (full context)
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After Clarissa leaves the house, Joe allows himself to entertain other “bad thoughts,” wondering whether Clarissa is using Parry “as a... (full context)
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Though Joe tells himself that he is merely attempting to “bring light and understanding” to Clarissa’s failure... (full context)
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Browsing Clarissa’s letters, Joe finds a note from Jocelyn Kale, Clarissa’s godfather and an eminent professor, inviting the two... (full context)
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As Joe continues to drive, his thoughts turn to the evening after his invasion of Clarissa’s privacy.... (full context)
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Fifteen minutes away from Jean Logan’s house now, Joe considers why he has come. He has spoken to Jean on the telephone, and while... (full context)
Chapter 13
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A grief-stricken Jean Logan meets Joe at the door. Following her inside, Joe reflects upon the house’s décor, which he suspects... (full context)
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Returning to the room, Jean confesses that she doesn’t know why Joe has come and that she would prefer not to hear condolences from a stranger. Joe... (full context)
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...has asked these questions have found her to be “mad”—insane—and she begins to cry. Embarrassed, Joe looks away and sees out the window a “brown, igloo-style tent.” He speculates that perhaps... (full context)
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...however, Jean gathers herself and begins to ask the questions she has in mind, telling Joe that there was someone “with [her] husband” on the day of the accident. She asks... (full context)
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Producing a shopping bag from the corner of the room, Jean reveals to Joe the remains of a picnic, found in John’s car among his other possessions. With the... (full context)
Chapter 14
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As he stares at Jean Logan’s children, Joe reflects on his and Clarissa’s history with kids. Though Joe has “never looked after a... (full context)
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With these thoughts in mind, Joe appraises the Logan children and tries to see himself through their eyes: he is “yet... (full context)
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Staring back at Joe, Leo declares, apparently in response to his mother’s assertion about the missing woman, that “it’s... (full context)
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Joe tentatively agrees to help, realizing that he will be “in a position to censor the... (full context)
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As Joe finishes these remarks, Jean Logan begins to respond. She agrees that her husband was brave,... (full context)
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Joe reflects to himself that only grief could “devise” such a “narrative,” and he tells Jean... (full context)
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As Joe prepares to leave, Jean Logan gives him the names and telephone numbers of the other... (full context)
Chapter 15
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On his way back to London, Joe drives through the Chilterns and revisits the scene of the ballooning accident. He parks where... (full context)
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Continuing to walk the field, Joe visits each of the important places from the day of the accident, including the spots... (full context)
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Joe returns to his car and thinks ahead to the research he will do about de... (full context)
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Two hours later, Joe has completed his return trip to London and immediately finds Parry waiting for him outside... (full context)
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Joe finally enters the apartment building and realizes that Parry has “frightened” him. He reflects on... (full context)
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Though her voice is “calm,” Clarissa is clearly “very angry” as she tells Joe that she hasn’t been able to muster the curiosity to go through his own things... (full context)
Chapter 16
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The letter that Parry has pressed into Joe’s hands begins with Parry recalling the student who brought him all of Joe’s published work.... (full context)
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As an example of what he finds so offensive in Joe’s work, Parry mentions a specific article about “the latest technological aids to biblical scholarship,” complaining... (full context)
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Continuing on, Parry reveals that, after finishing Joe’s work, he took a taxi to Joe’s apartment, where Joe was presumably still asleep, “unaware... (full context)
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Concerned that Joe will think him uneducated, Parry insists that he doesn’t “hate” science at all. Rather, he... (full context)
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Parry tells Joe that his love for Joe is “hard and fierce” and that he “won’t take no... (full context)
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Parry confesses that he wanted to “hurt” Joe upon going to his apartment building in the early morning, “or perhaps even more than... (full context)
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Closing his letter, Parry warns Joe that his life is about to be “upended” and that Joe may soon wish that... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Several weeks later, Joe and Clarissa are lying in bed “long past midnight,” and Joe is reflecting on the... (full context)
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Considering the specifics of this cold existence, Joe recalls how he and Clarissa sleep “in the same bed” but never “embrace”—how they use... (full context)
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Jed Parry, Joe reveals, has been sending “three or four letters a week,” all of which are “long... (full context)
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Joe narrates that he has learned how to “scan” Parry’s letters looking for some overt threat... (full context)
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In addition to writing, Parry has continued to lurk outside of Joe’s apartment building, yet he has ceased to talk to Joe when Joe passes him. This... (full context)
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Joe confesses to the reader that Parry has made him increasingly paranoid. He takes extra care... (full context)
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Setting aside these recollections, Joe watches Clarissa on the bed beside him. He wonders if the many years they have... (full context)
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To Joe’s surprise, Clarissa responds to this gesture by declaring that things between them are “over.” Joe... (full context)
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Thinking about Jean Logan immediately puts Joe in mind of the errand she has set him on, despite the fact that he... (full context)
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Clarissa herself, Joe recalls, is unsure about the number of doors she saw open on John Logan’s car,... (full context)
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As Joe pursues these thoughts, he is interrupted by Clarissa, whose declaration about their relationship he has... (full context)
Chapter 18
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It is Clarissa’s birthday, and, to Joe’s surprise, she kisses him when he gives her a card. Joe suspects that Clarissa is... (full context)
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As Clarissa leaves for work, Joe goes to his study to wrap her present: an early edition of John Keats’s poems.... (full context)
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Joe notices, reading further, that Parry’s letters contain very few religious references; instead, “his religion [is]... (full context)
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Joe leaves his apartment carrying his notes about Parry’s letters. Parry is not outside waiting for... (full context)
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Joe reflects inwardly about the strategy that has finally brought him into a face-to-face conversation with... (full context)
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Frustrated, and “beginning to detest Linley,” Joe states that he has “good reasons to believe [Parry] will turn nasty” and that he... (full context)
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Late for Clarissa’s birthday lunch, Joe leaves the station in frustration and rushes to the restaurant where he is to meet... (full context)
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Reflecting further on Clarissa’s last birthday, Joe recalls the specifics of that day. He had worked on an essay about “the genetic... (full context)
Chapter 19
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Arriving twenty minutes late for lunch, Joe sees Clarissa and Jocelyn Kale across the restaurant and notices that Clarissa remains in her... (full context)
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...“double helix” of human DNA, which once belonged to Jocelyn’s deceased wife. In the meantime, Joe speculates that he may have first noticed Colin Tapp and his family at the nearby... (full context)
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...that the model eventually built to illustrate DNA was “too beautiful not to be true,” Joe seizes on the word “beauty” and offers Clarissa his own gift, recalling John Keats’s famous... (full context)
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Even as Joe narrates these moments, he finds himself returning once again to the Colin Tapp party seated... (full context)
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At Joe’s own table, Clarissa has taken up Jocelyn’s story about the discovery of DNA, in which... (full context)
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Instead, Joe recalls, he allowed his mind to wander as the two men made their way through... (full context)
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At that moment, however, Joe sees the two men who have been making their way through the restaurant pause in... (full context)
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As Joe realizes that the two men are hired assassins, he simultaneously understands that he, Clarissa, and... (full context)
Chapter 20
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“For the second time that afternoon,” Joe finds himself sitting in a police station, waiting to be interviewed, a coincidence he attributes... (full context)
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Clarissa is the first in Joe’s party to speak to the police. As she returns, she warns Joe to “just tell... (full context)
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When Joe is finally shown into another interview room, the police officer with him this time is... (full context)
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As was the case during Joe’s previous police encounter, Detective Constable Wallace occasionally steers the conversation “toward irrelevancies,” asking Joe to... (full context)
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...notes. The two men have spoken to one another on the telephone, and Wallace asks Joe to repeat his story from the beginning. Joe refuses, and Wallace begins to ask him... (full context)
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Annoyed at this “meaningless coincidence,” Joe argues further with Detective Constable Wallace about the particular details of the restaurant meal. He... (full context)
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As their interview draws to a close, Joe and Detective Constable Wallace argue further over the flavor of the ice cream served at... (full context)
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Joe arrives home in darkness, the day having passed at the police station, and finds that... (full context)
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Joe reflects on his long-ago acquaintance with Johnny B. Well and on the economic forces that... (full context)
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Sitting with his telephone in his lap, Joe realizes that he is at a “turning point” and that “one action, one event, would... (full context)
Chapter 21
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The next morning, Joe drives Johnny B. Well to the house where Joe will be sold the gun he... (full context)
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After a long drive into the countryside, Joe and Johnny B. Well come eventually to an “ugly mock Tudor house,” which looks to... (full context)
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In the kitchen is a woman named Daisy, whom Joe guesses to be “about fifty.” To Joe, Daisy’s appearance tells a “tale of regret,” and... (full context)
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As the conversation turns to the gun Joe wishes to purchase, the others assure him that they don’t “approve” of weapons. Steve and... (full context)
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Steve briefly indicates that he will keep Joe’s money and give him nothing, but Xan insists that Steve produce the gun. The two... (full context)
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Joe and Johnny B. Well flee the scene, not wanting, in Johnny’s words, “to be a... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Jed Parry puts Clarissa on the phone, and she tells Joe that he must “come straight back” and can’t “talk to the police.” Before she gives... (full context)
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Opening the cardboard box, Joe takes a look at the gun he has purchased. It is “lighter” than he expected,... (full context)
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Joe continues to feel uneasy, even ill, especially when Johnny warns him that to point a... (full context)
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Joe races back to London in his car. On the way, Johnny B. Well warns him... (full context)
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Returning to his apartment at last, Joe goes around to the back of the building and climbs the fire escape to the... (full context)
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Parry has come to the window and is partly concealed by the curtains, and Joe realizes that their usual positions have been “invert[ed].” Joe climbs the stairs, rings the doorbell,... (full context)
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Parry, who is clearly nervous and distraught, warns Joe not to come any closer. Joe sees no obvious “bulge” in Parry’s clothes that might... (full context)
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When Clarissa assures Parry that Joe never meant to do him any harm, Parry grows increasingly nervous and states that neither... (full context)
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Joe reflects on the fact that he and Clarissa should, in a perfect world, have reunited... (full context)
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So, too, is any immediate reconciliation prevented by the fact that the police lead Joe away for “possession of an illicit firearm and malicious wounding with intent.” Though the police’s... (full context)
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Reflecting on the moments before the police took him away, Joe recalls the look of “repulsion and surprise” with which Clarissa responded to the sight of... (full context)
Chapter 23
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The narrative shifts to a letter that Clarissa has written to Joe sometime after Joe’s shooting of Jed Parry. Clarissa opens by apologizing for the “row” that... (full context)
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However, Clarissa states, Joe’s “being right is not a simple matter.” Clarissa continues to believe that the entire episode... (full context)
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Continuing on, Clarissa suggests that much of Joe’s emotional turmoil over the last many weeks has been due to his fear that he... (full context)
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...to, is that Parry’s ultimate violence was never “inevitable”; rather, it was spurred on by Joe’s reactions. Clarissa thanks Joe for “saving [her] life,” but she simultaneously argues that Joe might... (full context)
Chapter 24
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“Two weeks after the shooting,” Joe travels to Joseph Lacey’s home to keep their appointment. The next day, he arranges a... (full context)
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Joe reflects on the intense fight to which Clarissa alluded in their letter. He refers to... (full context)
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Arriving at Jean Logan’s house, Joe and Clarissa are greeted by Leo, who is “naked but for face paint done in... (full context)
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Joe asks Jean Logan to hear the “story” he wishes to communicate “at first hand.” He... (full context)
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...beside a river, and Leo and Rachael begin to wade in the water, accompanied by Joe. Joe and Rachael share an engaging conversation about water droplets, but, after a while, they... (full context)
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...now that “the only person who can is dead?” As Reid attempts to comfort Jean, Joe concludes that such a “breathless scrambling for forgiveness” is “almost mad.” He catches Clarissa’s eye... (full context)